Even though it’s a blurry photo from the 1920’s, you can see these early Fairhopers (yes, that’s correct. Not Fairhopians or Fairhopites) performing a bit of Shakespeare in one of the gullies which formed a natural amphitheater. These performances were also held high atop the bluff, overlooking Mobile Bay.
For three nights this past week,Â The Eastern Shore Repertory TheatreÂ performed, “The Music Man,” to huge crowds and drew rave reviews from everyone who was fortunate enough to attend.
The character Â of Mayor Shinn (in the top hat) was played by our own Mayor, Tim Kant. As soon as the applause died at the end of the evening, a young man in the row behind me said, “That’s one cool Mayor!”
With the modern day conveniences of electric stage lighting and sound systems, it probably had a bit more “pizzaz” than the original productions from years ago, but like the oldÂ Shakespearean plays, it was a large testament to our community’s commitment to the arts.
The fact that the play is set in a small town in Iowa in 1912 wasn’t lost on me, since the founders of Fairhope originally dreamed up the concept of the utopian city of Fairhope while they still lived in Iowa, then traveled here and put their plan into action in 1894.
The lead roles were superbly played by Ashley Conyers and Cris Smith. Over 70 cast members danced and sang their roles with great enthusiasm. A few songs were performed in counterpoint, with two songs being simultaneously woven together. This was especially a great feat, since acoustics on an outdoor stage are often difficult to control, but it all turned out beautifully.
In addition to the Mayor, the children in the audience were tickled to see other roles performed by our local Fairhope Elementary School Principal, Terry Beasley and Art Instructor, Judy Humphrey. Â The costumes were gorgeous, and as the story progressed, the visual elements gained more and more color to match the excitement and development of the story. Very clever, indeed.
To learn more about the Eastern Shore Repertory Theatre, click HERE.Â
Thanks to my husband for shooting these photos every time I poked him in the ribs.